The Islamic State releasing of video showing the sickening burning alive of captured Jordanian pilot Muadh al-Kasasbeh was a calculated move as part of its tactics of psychological warfare; it also present King Abdullah II of Jordan with a rare window of opportunity to take advantage of his subjects’ mood of unity to act militarily with the USA led coalition or unilaterally against this menace. What do IS tactics mean as part of their strategy? and what are King Abdullah’s options?
The Islamic State tactics by burning a brave pilot who was only carrying his duty was a deliberate brutal savagery aimed to maximise terror publicity for a number of tactical aims: first to terrorise coalition pilots ; especially Muslim pilots to discourage them from flying over areas under IS control (this shows that air raids are hurting the terrorists, as they are forced to disperse over larger area, avoid travelling in strong convoys and keeping busy allocating great deal of their resources to defensive and evasive measures) . Another aim of the terrorising propaganda is to stir negative emotions within pilots’ families with a possible similar fate to their loved ones. A couple of weeks ago an Islamists presenter with aljazeerah commented on the kidnapping, torture and savage beating to death of an Egyptian police officer by a Muslim Brotherhood affiliated terror group ..the aljazeerah presenter addressed wives and daughters of Egyptian police officers saying ” your husbands and fathers will be killed, kidnapped and tortured..tell them not to resist or fight if you want to see them again when you kiss them goodbye”.
IS wants also to terrorise residents in land they are advancing to..that unless they submit without resistance they would meet horrible end. Another aim is that this level of sadistic brutality appeals to a swash of young alienated Muslims with sick mentality who are psychologically damaged living the virtual fantasy of violent video games . They are , in words of Boris Johnson ” losers ” sexually frustrated and have no luck with girls so such violence is a recurring sergeant for IS among those psychopaths .
IS local aim was to get Jordanians to blame their government for participating in coalition ..This backfired ..All of Jordan now United against IS behind the king.
Abdullah II is a warrior .army officer …he has excellent British trained special forces…IS are on his borders with Syria ..he should take advantage of this popular unity ..But this mood is likely to be short lived. Nothing unites a nation more than an external danger to which the leadership is taking a decisive action. The King must take military action with ground forces against IS across the borders (article 51 international law gives legitimacy to a limited action ). The action can be coordinated within the coalition as they can provide air-cover or logestics or even participate. Or coud be a unilateral action,or both on more than one front. Jordan need only to inform Syrian government as action is underway. It could be covert operation with special forces. Or aircarft or local intelligence identify IS to be targeted by Jordanian artillery, missiles or gunship helicopters in swift attacks and blast every IS terrorist that appears in Jordan target finder. This action will open a second soutern front against IS which is already under pressure from Kurdish Peshmergah in the North. This will also encourage other Arab coalition partners to take action on the ground to eradicate this evil from the region.